During the first day of league meetings Monday, when the NFL's power brokers convened at the Omni hotel on the Vikings' sprawling Eagan campus, the most impactful rule change is aimed at your television.
The NFL's league ownership voted to approve flex scheduling for "Thursday Night Football" inside a late-season window — Weeks 13 through Weeks 17 — so long as no team plays two road games on Thursday nights or more than two such games in a season. The league is also limited to flexing two Thursday games in the five-week window.
Teams will be notified a minimum of 28 days beforehand, a longer duration than the 15-day proposal considered in March. Hans Schroeder, NFL Media's chief operating officer, downplayed how often games will be moved into short weeks.
"We're going to have an even higher bar for Thursday night about the type of game we think would merit real consideration," Schroeder said. "It's going to have be a situation where it's really clear and really apparent that game shouldn't stand on a standalone basis."
Only one Vikings game — Week 16 vs. the Lions on Christmas Eve at U.S. Bank Stadium — is eligible to be moved up in the schedule (the Vikings can't play another road Thursday night game since they travel to Philadelphia in Week 2). The Saints and Rams are the current Thursday night matchup on Week 16.
The measure got just enough votes to pass: the required 24 of 32. The Bears, Lions and Packers voted against, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter, and the Vikings approved.
What about fans planning travel?
"We'll do our best on how we communicate and as early as we can," Schroeder said, "but we're also trying to balance on the other side of how we get the right games in the right windows. That's something we'll always weigh heavily."
Green Bay gets 2025 NFL draft
The NFL chose the league's smallest market — Green Bay, Wis. — to play host to the biggest offseason event in 2025 when awarding the NFL draft to Titletown.
"But we're a big community," said Ed Policy, the Packers chief operating officer. "No other community on the planet has as close of a nexus to the past, present and future of the game."
The Packers sold the league on having the iconic backdrop of Lambeau Field and the city's readiness to handle what Policy called "the largest event Green Bay has ever hosted." Nearly 250,000 visitors are projected to attend throughout the week. Peter O'Reilly, the NFL's top events executive, compared Lambeau to recent television-friendly draft locales — Union Station in Kansas City, Mo., and the Lower Broadway district in Nashville.
"It's more about that," O'Reilly said when asked about cold-weather locations. "As you might expect, there's no shortage of interest in cities hosting the draft, so it's really thinking about the right sequencing."
The Vikings have been trying to bring the draft to Minnesota, where the 2018 Super Bowl was held, to complete the NFC North tour after Chicago (2015-2016), Detroit (2024) and Green Bay (2025).
"They have expressed interest," O'Reilly said. "It's great to be here now, and that's a big deal to host a spring meeting right on their property. And we're in close contact with the Vikings and the sports commission about what could be possible future events here. Obviously Super Bowl 52 was a special one. We know how this community comes together around big moments."
'Emergency QB' back in play
The first rule change approved Monday will allow teams to "activate" a quarterback during the game should the first two get injured. The new rule — proposed by the Lions — follows the San Francisco 49ers losing quarterbacks Brock Purdy and Josh Johnson during the NFC Championship Game. Purdy re-entered the game but could not effectively throw because of an elbow injury.
A third quarterback will not count against a team's gameday limit for active players, but the quarterback must be on the 53-man roster. Practice squad elevations aren't allowed. The Vikings haven't kept a third active quarterback to start a season since 2018.